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Aerial view of Fremantle Harbour, probably O'Connor's greatest personal triumph


C.Y. O'Connor


Goldfields Pipeline, perhaps the world's longest water main

Plays, Verse Plays & Musicals
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This Water's Gold                * Available 2009-2010 *
The story of achieving the impossible, a pipe-line to send water to the desert goldfields.

Premier Sir John Forrest backed the engineer, Charles OíConnnor, in his insistence against fierce opposition the pipe could be built. First he had to persuade the Premier it was possible.

OíConnor: If water can be pumped uphill over a short distance, why canít it be pumped uphill over a
                   series of distances? In stages from tank to tank, and station to station. If you walk up a big hill,
                    you do it in easy stages, so why not the same principle? Thatís what I will prove to you.

Forrest: You have persuaded me. But it will be an uphill battle to persuade many others you have the
               expertise to get water running uphill. Given that people doubt whether I can build a railway uphill to
               Coolgardie, what will they say to this? You build the pipe, Charles, and I will convince the parliament and
               the public. Where would the engineer be without the politician?  Or at least an engineer like you who
               spends on a grand scale?

(The pipe, which proved the salvation of the goldfields was built, but the stress was so great that Charles OíConner himself became a sacrifice to it in that he committed suicide).

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